Doing NaNoWriMo? I’m Doing NaNoFiMo

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So the editing continues, but now I have a deadline. I think I’m going to do NaNoWriMo. But not in the traditional way, I’m going to cheat a little bit. Or a lot, whichever.

I have several unfinished manuscripts floating around my hard drive, and I think I’m going to dust some off, make sure they’re worth the effort, and finish them, racking up my 50,000 words in the process. I’ll be doing my very own NaNoFiMo.

Now I might set out to get a few done, start re-reading them, and decide I stopped writing them for good reason. Luckily, I have a slew of manuscripts in various stages, so if one seems like it’s not worth the effort, I can always move on to the next. One way or another, I’ll write 50,000 words in November.

I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to NaNo, so this marks a big change for me. But sometimes, it’s good to break out of routines, to veer away from that which has become habit. So I’m going to face this challenge with a brand-new twist and see how it goes.

Of course, on the morning of November 1, I could suddenly be inspired to write an utterly fresh, completely-yet-unthought-of book, and that’s one of the perks of NaNo. But as of now, it will be me and some old friends. Or frenemies. We’ll see.

Anyone else planning on a non-traditional NaNo?

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only).

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Guess Where I Am Today?

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More editingGo on, guess! That’s right, you got it. While I’m pushing through this next editing pass, don’t fear. You can always get one of my books, Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management, Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) to pass the time. You can even borrow them with Amazon Prime or read them for free with Kindle Unlimited. And Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities is just plain free. Enjoy, and see you back here soon.

 

 

The Social Contract Behind Door Number 3

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If you read this blog, you might know that I have a rather recent fascination with the game show reboot of “Let’s Make a Deal.” It’s partially because of the host, Wayne Brady, who is effortlessly funny without a trace of mean, and partially because the rest of the cast compliments him so well.

But a lot of it is for the contestants themselves. The show is a tribute to people good-natured enough to show up on national TV in creatively odd costumes and swoon at the idea that they might win anything. Anything at all. The whole thing is imbued with kind of optimism I wish I had, an optimism we could all use in our lives.

The last time I watched, though, I was really taken by the show of disappointment when a contestant might have won something, but didn’t. It doesn’t matter what it was, or how ill-suited it might have been for them, or how unlikely they were to use it, every single person who could have had one thing but got something else acts as though they are genuinely sorry to missed out.

Even when they clearly aren’t.

And maybe that’s part of my attraction to the show, it’s like watching the best parts of the social contract we have with one another in a polite society play out in lurid colors with impromptu songs. We say please and thank you. We appreciate the effort. We are grateful for what we are given when it doesn’t need to be given at all, and best of all, we simply enjoy the experience.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Autumn Calling

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I wish autumn was longer. Of course, I could just as well say I wish the days didn’t get shorter, or the sun would rise just a little more to the left, but still, I do. The transformation seasons here in Chicago are the city at its most graceful, shrugging off the heavy coat of winter in the spring, and slipping it back on again in the fall.

There is that crispness that belongs only to autumn, found on fresh, new mornings, which doesn’t last. It gives way to more and more frigid air, until the freshness is dried right out of it. And the leaves, showing off their fiery colors, quickly escape the trees, finding new homes underfoot and on the roofs and windows of parked cars.

But perhaps the brevity is what makes it so beautiful. Maybe it’s the truth that autumn is the embodiment of transience, we are watching change with each day. Winter hulks over the city for months, planting itself firmly, refusing to budge. Summer makes its presence known and revels in all the novelty it brings.

But fall and spring, they’re seasons on the way to something else. And they seem to know it, so they give us all the glory they have to offer, fast and delicate, before they are gone.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Another Down, Question Mark to Go

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Well, round and round and round we go. Speaking of, I just finished another round of edits on my manuscript. This one was tough, but it felt good. I’m hoping I’m closing in on completing it.

It’s strange how it seems the very texture of a book changes as you make your way through it, pass after pass, bits catching you, pricking you, scraping the skin. Little by little, you wear them down, those sharp, pointy parts, and something that was once nothing but texture, permeable, accessible texture, turns smooth, inflexible.

Set.

A distance develops between you and it, and it becomes what it is going to be. It’s almost like magic. Painstaking, tedious magic, but magic nonetheless.

If you aren’t a person who sticks your hands into your work, rolling up your sleeves for the messy bits, I think you’re missing one of the biggest aspects of writing: true immersion in your work. You’re missing the opportunity to figure out what you’ve done wrong and how to fix it; you’re missing the chance to understand not only the broad strokes of your characters, but their nuances as well.

I think editing might be the most uncomfortable part of writing, because every time you do it, you’re not only picking apart your work, but a little bit of yourself. But it’s also the way you put it all back together.

Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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A Serious Case of the Sillies

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So I’ve gotten to Thursday, and I’ve had a mixed bag of a week. There were editing highs, and editing no-goes, and lots of noise and some nice bits of fall sunshine. Overall, on a scale of Lazy to Industrious, I rate myself a 12.93, which says it all. You do the math. It is, of course, out of a 17 word scale, graded on a curve, with four standard deviations. But I didn’t have to tell you that, the number speaks for itself.

I think I might have a slight case of the sillies. What, you may wonder, would give me that idea? Well, aside from a morning slew of puns and a scale only Aunty Ida could love, I haven’t a clue. Sometimes that happens, the frivolity of it all just hits you, and there’s not much you can do but let those sillies out to play.

The mind can’t stay in the serious straight-and-narrow. Not for long. At least not my mind, it starts dreaming up bad jokes and ridiculous situations and making suggestions that are better left ignored, especially in a crucial state of editing.

So now I’ve got a full-fledged case with a hefty side of irreverence, which isn’t so terrible, when you think about it, because most of what I write has a hefty side of irreverence. At least now I know where I get it from.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

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Taking Control of Distractions

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Well, the batteries died in the noise cancelling headphones, and though I have other batteries of all sizes and descriptions, I do not have any more triple A’s. My kingdom for a triple A, (such that it is. Actually, I need three of them. And my kingdom is probably worth exactly that amount, so it’s a fair exchange rate).

I’ve been grappling with the issue of distractions this year, mainly because I’ve been grappling with distractions this year, and I’ve learned how draining constant, loud, uncontrollable noise can be, as it seems part of your brain is always busy taking it in. I’ve also learned methods to cope, like the earplugs, currently snugly situated in my ears, the noise cancelling headphones, which would be much more helpful if the batteries were still on this side of the mortal veil, and good, old fashioned determination to live true to the venerated, ancient saying: “La la la, I can’t hear you.”

We can’t control our environment all the time, no matter what science fiction told us should be happening in the year 2014. Sometimes you have to just find a way to deal with it. The distractions aren’t what’s important; it’s the work. And one way or another, its got to get done.

Sometimes you just have to do it with ridiculous bits of florescent orange foam in your ears.

Have a minute? Watch this video.

Rather read? Check out  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) .

 Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!